Can You Use Whose for Inanimate Objects?

Today, Joe brought my attention to a strange quirk of the English language: we use “whose” for inanimate objects. It sounds so weird when you use the phrase like, “I placed the iPhone whose screen is broken in the bin,” but it’s technically grammatically correct.

Kinesthesia: Definition and Examples for Writers


It’s kind of fun when words that refer to literary techniques have their origin in other disciplines. Take kinesiology, for example. I had several friends in college who were kinesiology majors, which means that they studied the science of human movement. That general idea of movement is also reflected in today’s new literary word: kinesthesia.

In Medias Res: Definition and Examples for Writers

in medias res

One way to tell a story is to introduce the reader to the environment of the story. Descriptions of foliage and dirt roads, or of skyscrapers and clanging subway gears, can get the reader acclimated to the setting and can be a way to introduce the protagonist as a product of their surroundings.

But sometimes you just don’t have the patience for that. You want to hit the ground with the plot running at full speed, and once you’ve gotten the reader’s attention and piqued their curiosity, then maybe you explain what’s going on and how things got here.

Welcome to the world of in medias res.

Don’t Take Your NaNoWriMo Novel So Seriously

NaNoWriMo Novel

I was talking to a girlfriend of mine Monday night about NaNoWriMo. Her last venture into National Novel Writing Month was three years ago, and now she’s regretting starting.

Enjambment: Definition and Examples for Writers


I love new words. I always get really excited whenever I learn a new word, and I try to use it as often as is applicable in my daily life. Sometimes this is harder to do than I’d like. However, this is a writing blog, and the word I learned today is a writing word. Congratulations, you get to learn about enjambments.

An Editor Says You Shouldn’t Edit During NaNoWriMo

Editing NaNoWriMo

A lot of writers and writing blogs on the internet are revving up their engines for NaNoWriMo, which starts on Saturday. I’m not one of those masses, mostly because my love is the editing process moreso than the actual story creation and writing process. As much as I champion the benefits of an editorial eye, I believe that the editorial process should be scrapped during NaNoWriMo in favor of making December NaNoEdMo (even though NaNoEdMo is actually in March).

Why Writers Love Red Herrings: A Brief Guide

Red Herring

Red herrings are staples of the mystery and suspense genres, but they also can pop up in myriad other works and genres. But what is a red herring? Find out…

3 Lessons Gone Girl Teaches Writers About Suspense

3 lessons gone girl teaches writers about suspense

I read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl way back in January after hearing that A. it was amazing, and B. it would be getting a theatrical release in October 2014. I loved the book, and as soon as I started seeing trailers for the movie, I got it into my head that I MUST SEE THIS FILM. The moody teaser, the dark score accompanying the scenes of a marriage unraveling, the mystery of whose story is the truth: the whole thing dragged me in. I saw the movie on Sunday, and it definitely did not disappoint, at least as far as I’m concerned. There’s a lot of debate around the plot, which I won’t go into here because pretty much anything I say would be a huge spoiler.

Word Crimes According to Weird Al

Word Crimes by Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al came out with a new album fairly recently, and my boyfriend sent me a link to his video for “Word Crimes” because, let’s face it, it’s me we’re talking about. For reference, in case any of you aren’t as aware of Weird Al’s affinity for grammar, he’s a self-described grammar nazi, and this song is a clear indication of that fact.

Euphemism: Definition and Examples for Writers

Euphamism Definition

I’m in the home stretch of the second book of Lev Grossman’s Magicians series. Basic premise: imagine that you’re a huge fan of the Narnia series, and also a magician at magic college. And then you find out that Narnia is real, and a lot darker than the books led you to believe. That’s the most simplistic way of putting it, but you should probably read the series yourself. But the series is told from the point of view of a high school/college-aged boy named Quentin. Clearly, since there is a young adult male protagonist, there are euphemisms sprinkled liberally through the books.